Sunday, August 29, 2010

Aug. 28th picture of the week

This past Tuesday we finished the hole for the water intake structure.  (I know normally digging the hole for an intake structure is not a big accomplishment, but this in PNG, and holes are not too easy to come by here.)  It was a nice day and my guys were super excited.  Picture 1 shows the guys, the back of the gabion baskets and the back of the concrete intake struture.  This hole was dug entirely using the tools shown in the pictures!  The guys had an incentive of 100 kina a day for every day early they finished, and liquidated damages of 50 kina for every day late that they finished.  The hole was supposed to be completed by September 24th, and they finished it on the 24th of August!  That is a 2,100 Kina bonus for the guys!  (When I wrote the contract I was really hoping that they would come in ahead of schedule so I could give them a bonus, but I never imagined how hard they would be willing to work.)

 I initially started this project with four guys, Steven, Garry, Gibson, and Bakeid.  They constructed all of the gabion baskets.  Then when it came time to start on the hole I told them to bring four more guys for me to hire, Richard, Monkia, Avvo and Phillip.  Then Gary got really sick and sent his son Rasta to work in his stead.  When Gary came back I was happy to keep Rasta on as he was a hard worker.  At this point I found out that under PNG law, I could only hire temporary workers for 60 days and then would have to fire them.  I discovered this one week prior to the 60 day cut off for Steven, Gary, Gibson, and Bakeid.  Because of all the training I had given these guys, it was important for them to finish the job.  So I worked out the plan to fire them and then hire Steven, Gary, Gibson and Bakeid as private contractors to finish the job for a lump sum payment.  I did this and told each of them I was no longer the boss but they were my co-workers and would each need to hire four employees of their own to come work on the trench.  The following day I had 20 men with 10 spades and 10 wheelbarrows digging at break-neck speed.  I was so  busy that I never got to learn the names of all of the new gurys that they brought, so I am only able to name nine of the men in the pictures.
On top of gabion baskets (on grey blanket) from left to right: Bakeid, Unknown, Unknown, Monkia, Avvo.  Second row above wheel barrows:  Unknow, Unknown, Unknown (in purple shirt), Unknow, Unknown, Rasta, Richard, Jacob (me), Gary, Unknown  Bottom row and also kneeling behind wheel barrows: Unkown, Unknown, Phillip (sitting on over-turned wheelbarrow), Gibson (kneeling behind wheelbarrows with short dreds), Unknown ( in  the red hat), Steve (reclining in the wheelbarrow out front)

Picture 2 shows Steven presenting me with a bilum (a traditional hand-woven bag).  He stood up and gave a speech about how much they appreciated the opportunity to work for me and presented me with the bilum.

Picture 3 is a wide-amgle shot that shows most of the trench.

Jacob and Kim

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Greetings Everyone

At our prevous house we had a yard man named Kuri.  A yard man is like a gardener; he mows the lawn and tends all of the flowers and other plants in the yard.  By hiring a yard man, it gives people from the local villages a chance to make some cash, and it frees missionaries up to focus on their ministry rather than their yard.  Kuri was the yard man at the house when we moved in, so we just kept him on.  One day, Kuri was working on the pineapple patch in the garden because the pineapple leaves were yellowing.  Kuri told us it was because there were grubs getting to the roots.  Kuri up-rooted all of the pineapple plants, and sure enough grubs were the culprit.  After removing the grubs Kuri re-planted the pineapple plants and then gathered up all of the grubs to take home with him because, as I am sure you all know, they are tasty in a stew!

Jacob and Kim

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Yopno language group dedication

We have just returned from a dedication of the New Testament in the Yopno language group.  The Yopno live at 7,000 feet in the heart of the Finisterre Mountain Range.  The Finsterre's are beautiful rugged mountains covered in dense jungle.  We had the opportunity to fly in to the Yopno's village, Keweng on Cessna 206's due to the fact that an airstrip was constructed there three years ago to aid in the protection of a local population of tree kangaroos.  Keweng is a beautiful place, and the Yopno were very friendly and accommodating.  Upon our arrival they sang and danced for us and then presented us with gifts, boar-tooth necklaces and bilums (traditional woven bags).  The celebration was beautiful and the people were very excited to have the New Testament in their own language.

Jacob and Kim

Brotzler's Picture of the week - Aug.15th

Hi Everyone,
A few weeks back we had the opportunity to travel to the Molima Bible dedication on Fergusson Island.  The Molima people group are very remote and can only be reached by several hours of hiking through the jungle from the coast, or a few minutes in a helicopter.  Kim flew in on Friday morning, and Jacob followed on Monday.  The weather did not cooperate, and an airstrip that had been cut from the bush was too muddy for the plane to land safely on Fergusson Island, more than once that is, so an alternative drop point had to be found.  That alternative was Goodenough Island.  Goodenough Island has a paved runway that was constructed during WWII by the Australians.  Goodenough is very bush, with no roads, no cars, and well not anything except the old airstrip.  This airstrip was chosen as the location from which helicopter shuttles were to be made to the Molima village on Monday morning when Jacob arrived on the first plane.

When Jacob's plane arrived, the helicopter was already waiting at the end of the runway near a grove of mango trees and was surrounded by a large group of men with bush knives and spears.  Upon deplaning, the helicopter pilot pulled Jacob aside and told him of a small problem that had come up that he needed Jacob's help with.  The problem was that there were seven people on the plane and the helicopter could only hold six.  As everyone else on the plane was coming in just for the dedication and did not know any tok pisin, the helicopter pilot felt that Jacob was the best suited to wait while the helicopter shuttled the guests to the dedication and the airplane went back to the mainland to get the next load of guests.  And so all the the passengers exited the airplane and boarded the helicopter and then both aircraft left...and as Jacob watched the helicopter slowly disappear over the jungle, he looked around him at all of the men with spears and knives that were beginning to gather.

Thinking that his best chance to not be a late breakfast for these men by the time the aircraft returned, Jacob walked over to the mango grove, found a nice rock in the shade to sit on, and started telling all kinds of stories about ice fishing, and snow, and elk hunting in the mountains of Montana.  Then the men would return with hunting stories of their own.  It turns out they were out hunting wallaby that morning when they heard the helicopter come in and so they gave up on the wallaby and came to watch the helicopter.  After about an hour the sound of a helicopter was heard and then an airplane, and both aircraft landed and taxied to the end of the runway.  Jacob walked over towards the aircraft only to count six passengers deplane and climb aboard the helicopter.  Jacob waked back over to the mango grove where Aslon, and Joseph, and Mathias, and Atson, and Steve and Simon, and all the rest of his new friends were waiting.  He passed the rest of the day with them sharing stories, and eating sweet bananas while watching helicopters and airplanes land and take off and land and take off two more times.  Then finally, on the last trip of the day, Jacob said good bye to his new friends and climbed aboard the helicopter with the airplane pilot and flew to Fergusson Island.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The July 26th Ukarumpa Update

This month PNG has very much been living up to its reputation as the Land of the Unexpected!  A few weeks back the Seventh Day Adventist church in the valley went around to all of the different villages involved in the fighting that has been plaguing the Aiyura Valley and asked them to wash their hands of the violence.... and Praise God, they did!  The fighting has stopped and we ask that you pray with us that this new peace remains.

 On July 17th we had the exciting opportunity to attend a wedding.  One of Jacob's co-worker's sisters got married and we traveled to the Ramu Valley for the wedding.  It was interesting as the ceremony was intended to be a "western" ceremony.  We were the only white people at the ceremony and when we walked into the church the pastor saw us and, speaking into the microphone, he said,"Hey two white man, you come sit up in the front with the bride's family.".... so much for blending in!  After the ceremony there was a traditional mumu feast followed by the "pasim meri" which is a ceremony where the bride is passed from her family to the groom's family.  The pasim meri also involves the giving of gifts and a re-paying of the bride price.  You will notice in the picture the bride is wearing several meri blouses one over the other and many bilums (hand-made woven bags).  These are all gifts from her family.  The groom's family added even more bilums.

 On July 23rd Kim left Ukarumpa for Fergusson Island, the location of the Molima people group, to photograph a Bible dedication which took place on July 27th.  Jacob left Ukarumpa on July 26th and joined her there for the dedication.  The Molima are a very remote people group and we had the opportunity to fly into and out of the village by helicopter!
  In addition to the printed Bible, a small device called a Mega Voice  a super durable audio player with the New Testment recorded on it in the Molima language, was also dedicated.  The Mega Voice players are solar powered and allow those who can't read a chance to hear the Gospel.  After the dedication we had the opportunity to spend three days in the coastal city of Alotou.  We very much enjoyed a few days rest!

 The new school year just started over here.  This term Kim will be teaching French, Algebra and helping with the Digital Photography class.  She will be doing this in addition to her photography duties.

The gabion basket portion of Jacob's water project is complete and he is now in the process of digging the hole for the infiltration gallery.  To do this he has hired four more men and now has a crew of eight working with him.  The digging has been slow due to lots of rain.  The excavation will need to be completed, the infiltration gallery installed, and the excavation backfilled, prior to the start of the rainy season in October.